When you go to Batong, you'll only hear one story over and over: the legend of Lake Akhizgraz. In the shops, coffee houses, department stores, the market, by the pier or on the hillside, everyone single person in the region knows the tale of the lake that rests near them
According to many, Lake Akhizgraz came to exist when a meteorite fell to Earth and transformed the region. Some scientists agreed and other did not. However, one could argue that hills surrounded the lake on every side except one, were Batong had been founded.
Legend also said that there used to be an island in the middle of the lake, long before the city existed. Everyone said the island was not attached to the bottom of the lake and so it moved around slowly over the water. Now, some stories differ: some say the island was not an actual island but a gigantic animal that roamed the waters. Others say the island had always been there and that it still was but sunk to the bottom.
Anyhow, they all agreed the island had been the home of the first settlers that, enchanted by the lake, sailed to the island and built a house there. It was a couple, man and woman. She was pregnant and they stayed as she was unable to walk anymore.
The baby's name was no other than Akhizgraz. They say is a name in an ancient language meaning beautiful lake, but that too hasn't been proven. The truth was that they lived happy for about ten years, until something happened.
One night, after supper, the family heard a voice calling them from the water. They came out of the house to find a wolf walking on the water. Yes, that is what they say. He was silver and from his eyes came a white light, piercing and impossible to stand for long. The wolf told the family that they had been good to this holy place but that danger was imminent and that they should leave the lake immediately.
Father, mother and son discussed it all night long, each giving reasons for staying and for leaving. But in the end they decided to remain in their house as it was the only home they had. The couple had gotten there after getting lost in the desert and escaping poverty and they had no desire of going back to that.
So they lived there one more year and then a storm came. An awful storm, black and twisted, carrying sand from the desert. Their house was almost destroy by a fire started by a lighting that hit the tallest part of a nearby tree. It lasted for hours and the family just begged for it to stop, as they held each other.
And it ended, as fast as it had started. The wolf appeared again that night and told them the storm preceded the arrival of a stronger evil. He said the spirits now considered them part of the lake so they would protect them as long as they could.
Only a week passed until Akhizgraz, chopping wood with his father, saw something on the plain side of the lake. He thought the ground was shaking and told his parents the storm was back but then they realized it wasn't the storm. It was an army.
They had covered the house with leaves and grass days before and now just watched what happened. The leader of the army walked along the shore slowly and the kneeled and put one ear against the ground. He then sent three groups, one to each cardinal point in the lake, so to cover all its extension.
And then the family heard the explosions. Brutal and overwhelming. The ground was lifted and so they created three more entries to the lake. The family hid for days as more men arrived. The yhad brought machines and rapidly installed them. They were mining and drilling and taking the water to feed their industry.
The lake begin to die, slowly. The wolf appeared once again and told them they could only save the lake if they destroyed the machines so they planned an attack on the army. They all feared death but their life was one of many that would be destroyed. So they went on to sabotage machines and causing malfunctions.
But their leader was smart and one day caught Akhizgraz when he was about to sabotage one more drilling machine. As he knew a boy this young couldn't be in the forest alone, the cruel man stood in the know cleared beach and called for them. Mother and father watched their son but knew that revealing themselves would mean no one would be left to save the lake. And their son indicated to them, by single blink of an eye, not to come out.
The evil man killed Akhizgraz with a knife and threw his body to the lake. This action was decisive: the forest and its spirits revealed themselves and fought along the now grieving parents, destroying everything that the lake wanted out. With superhuman strength, everything was thrown away and the men were swallowed by the ground.
Only the leader was left and it was the mother, now enraged, that killed him with her own hands.
Knowing the sacrifice of Akhizgraz, the lake and its spirits decided to honor the family for ever. On each of the new entrances to the lake created by the army, the spirits created new mountains, taller and more beautiful than any in the vicinity. And they created them using the body of the son and of his parents, that decided to part the world as the pain of loosing a child was too great.
Soon after that, the spirits used the island to carry the souls of the family to the afterlife.
Nowadays, people say the tallest mountain around the lake, just across from where Batong stands, is the one built from the body of Akhizgraz.
Once every year the city celebrates the sacrifice done by the first family to settle in the lake and thanked them for their strength and courage.
There is a temple by the lake too and they say that if you go there in a foggy day, you may be able the see the wolf spirit that took the family to their final resting places.